V/A - Scratches and Needles: A Tribute to the Nils
Various artists are dragged together to perform
tribute songs to a much lauded early punk based band
who almost nobody listens to anymore. Not a novel
concept, but I have to say it is pulled off
surprisingly well in this album.
The Nils were hugely influential in the early to mid
80's but never had much commercial success, and for
good reason. Their songs were hard, driven and
rhythmic but tended to just miss being catchy. At
times they almost sounded like Joe Jackson with a
hangover. But at their best, the Nils were upfront
Most of the bands doing covers are more poppy than the
Nils were and the effect is, though some of the
original raw sound of the music may be lost, it
becomes more friendly to mass audiences when covered
by these bands.
The Punchbuggy cover of "Daylight" and Doc Hopper's
"Bandito Callin" were both very pleasant surprises
featuring quirky instrumentals with a touch of
reverence for the legacy of the Nils.
"If Heaven Lies" is a great great song which Flounger
Down by Law's cover of "Freedom" is predictably good.
Sinkhole's "Fountains" was very very good-in some
senses this cover exceeded the original.
The compilation is as strong as a comp can be I
think--there were no awful songs a few mediocre ones
and a handful of really really strong tracks.
If you're a fan of the poppier end of pop punk, this
is out of your depth. But again, if you are into
early stuff but can still stomach the harder pop punk
bands of the 90's this is worth checking out.
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